Lorna specialises in personal injury, clinical negligence and employment law. Further to her clinical negligence practice, Lorna is also developing a specialism in coronial inquests.
Prior to joining the Bar, Lorna studied English Language and Literature at Exeter College, Oxford, where she specialised in Post-Colonial Literature. She received the Tancred Studentship, Lord Haldane and Hardwicke Scholarships from Lincoln’s Inn and marshalled for Justice Barma at the High Court of Hong Kong. She remains an international Li and Fung Scholar.
Outside of work, Lorna loves to ski, travel and spend time with her dog Hercules, a cute but curious Miniature Dachshund/Pekingese mix.
Lorna has a busy Multi and Fast track practice across the breadth of PI law, including Occupiers’ Liability, Employers’ Liability, Highways Act and Animals Act claims. She works equally for Claimants and Defendants with the vast majority of her work being repeat instruction.
Frequent instructions are received for final hearings, costs and case management hearings and applications such as relief from sanctions, setting aside default judgment and pre-action disclosure.
Recent hearings have included:
- a final hearing for a Claimant carer who suffered injury whilst moving a patient in a home-care environment. The Defendant’s allegation that the Claimant was the author of his own misfortune for failing to dynamically risk-assess was defeated;
- a final hearing for a Defendant Highways Authority. The Claimant established that a dangerous defect existed, but was unable, under cross-examination, to satisfy the Judge as to the causation, nature and extent of injury;
- a CCMC featuring relief from sanctions, costs budgeting and directions in the context of a claim for psychological injury against an NHS trust for failures under the Data Protection Act.
Lorna is often instructed to advise on actions from the outset. Her advices on liability and quantum are practical and thorough. They consider issues such as acceleration/exacerbation of pre-existing injury, causation in respect of psychiatric illness after trauma, gratuitous care awards (including for third party care that an injured Claimant can no longer provide) and future loss of earnings/ Smith v Manchester awards. Lorna aims to return paperwork within 21 days but is frequently instructed to provide expedited Advices by agreement.
Fraud and Allegations of Fraud
Lorna is experienced both in prosecuting and defending allegations of fundamental dishonesty. She is able to distinguish between those cases where a fraud “flag” is clearly inappropriately applied and those where a fundamental dishonesty finding appears likely. In the latter instance she will offer robust and practical advice accordingly. For Defendants, Lorna will vigorously pursue a fundamental dishonesty finding in the right case. She has had great success in dis-applying QUOCs and obtaining considerable sums in respect of indemnity costs.
In addition to fundamental dishonesty, Lorna is experienced with and utilises the full range of QUOCS exceptions including third party costs orders. She was recently successful in obtaining a strike out for abuse of process moments ahead of the service of a Notice of Discontinuance, such that costs were retrievable under the provision wherein the Claimant’s conduct has obstructed the just disposal of proceedings.
Lorna has recently had great success in obtaining “show cause” orders in respect of third party costs against Credit Hire companies and wasted costs against solicitors.
Lorna is instructed in claims involving hospitals, GP practices and private practitioners. She acts for both Claimants and Defendants (in an approximate 70:30 ratio). She is experienced in getting to the root of medical terminology, procedures and guidelines. Her preference is to advise from an early stage, identifying the key points and salient details with the client, instructed experts and solicitors so as to present or defend the claim on its best footing.
Recent cases have been so varied as to include allegations of delayed diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, improperly performed surgeries to the nose and toes and cosmetic procedures such as “fat freezing” and lip fillers.
Lorna has an excellent working knowledge of credit hire, covering all standard issues in addition to specialisms such as third party costs orders. She is instructed primarily by Defendants.
Travel and Holiday Claims
Lorna has a busy and extensive specialism in international illness and accident claims. She is instructed mainly for Claimants including by industry leaders.
Lorna’s represents and advises throughout the time line of actions- from advices on prospects and pre-action disclosure hearings, through allocation hearings and CCMCs, to final multi track trials and advices on child settlement. She has significant experience dealing with the extensive expert evidence often required in these cases.
In a recent multi track final hearing concerning an accident in Egypt, Lorna successfully defeated a last minute application to admit further expert evidence on local standards by the Defendant. She cross-examined the Defendant’s tour representative, in respect of whom a hearsay notice had been served, with short notice notice of live evidence, over an unreliable and intermittent international video link. The Defendant settled on the morning of day 2.
Lorna is instructed for Claimants and Respondents across the breadth of employment law matters. She has a particular specialism in Discrimination and harassment claims.
Lorna advises and represents clients throughout the lifetime of a claim, from initial advice and drafting, through preliminary and final hearings, and to advice on costs and appeals. She knows the value of identifying the case’s strengths early and obtaining directions that assist the matter to trial whilst protecting the claim and maintaining advantage. In addition to trial representation, Lorna is well-versed in applications for strike out, deposit orders and costs, preliminary hearings on disability and jurisdiction and interim relief applications.
Extensive experience in employment law, communication skills and positive outcomes have earned Lorna “approved counsel” status for a number of Claimant solicitors firms and Respondent businesses. Respondent instructions come frequently from within the retail, finance, manufacturing and healthcare sectors, amongst others.
Recent hearings included:
- a 19 day final hearing for a Respondent national retailer facing 26 allegations of discrimination on the grounds of perceived disability, race and sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. Lorna cross-examined the Claimant, who was representing himself, over 4 days, witness managed 7 Respondent witnesses and assisted the Tribunal with timetabling and documents. All claims were dismissed.
- a final hearing for a Claimant claiming pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal. Cross-examination focused heavily on “contemporaneous” documents which the Claimant asserted were fabricated. The tribunal found against the Respondent, who had denied knowledge, concluding that the reason given for the Claimant’s dismissal was a front. Lorna then advised on and drafted the subsequent (successful) costs application;
- attending a last minute listing of a Claimant’s application for interim relief in a claim of alleged dismissal because of trade union activity. Lorna successfully defeated the application, convincing the tribunal that the Claimant had failed to establish it was “likely” she had been dismissed for that reason.
In addition to the above, Lorna has experience dealing sensitively and practically with claims involving Litigants in Person and vulnerable individuals. She has substantial experience in successfully defending unfair dismissal claims where the Respondent relies on gross misconduct against a background of mental health issues and/or alcohol abuse. Lorna receives extremely positive client feedback and, more unusually, is often thanked by vulnerable parties she has opposed, even in circumstances where their claims have been defeated. Lorna is able to marry her extensive legal knowledge with a client’s priorities and appetite for risk (reputational and financial), negotiating and obtaining risk-adjusted settlements where appropriate.
Inquests & Coronial
Lorna’s practice has recently expanded into coronial inquests, and she is keen to develop this area further.
In her first Inquest, Lorna represented the family of a deceased young man who had been diagnosed with an aggressive but highly treatable form of cancer. Over the course of two days, she questioned 8 doctors and medical representatives, raising the family’s concerns. She obtained a neglect verdict against the treating hospital.
The connected clinical negligence action settled the day afterwards.